GODLY LIVING.





When some one is spoken of as living a worldly life, it is meant that he

lives in a worldly manner, or in a manner like the world. Likewise, when

some one is spoken of as living a godly life, it is meant that he lives in

a godly manner, or in a manner like God. To many this is a hard saying,

but it is possible for man to live just such a life; in fact, it is the

only right way of life. A godly life is the only true life. Such a life is

demanded by the Scriptures. We are to live "soberly, righteously, and

godly in this present world" (Tit.2:12).



God's dear children are told to be "followers of him" (Eph. 5:1). In some

translations this reads, "Be ye imitators of God," and in some others, "Be

ye mimickers of God." From this we understand that to be a follower of God

is to live or act in a manner like him. Again, it is said of those who

abide in Christ, that they should walk even as he walked. Our manner of

life should be as was the life of Jesus. It is said of Christ that "when

he was reviled, he reviled not again." Although he was treated most

shamefully by his enemies, he did not seek to avenge himself. When

insulting remarks were made to him, he gave no reply. To live a godly life

is to live in the same manner. When Christians are reviled, they bless;

when they are persecuted, they suffer meekly and patiently. When Jesus was

being put to death by his enemies, he prayed the Father to forgive them.

When a man who had come to take Jesus had his ear cut off, Jesus in his

tender compassion healed this bitter persecutor's wound. This is the true

spirit of godliness.



The full standard of godliness is attained to only when the whole tenor of

the life is in simplicity and godly sincerity. The apostle Paul said in

testimony that his rejoicing was this: the testimony of his conscience

that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the

grace of God, he had had his conduct in the world. A godly life is wholly

free from ostentation; every act is done in purest simplicity and truest

sincerity. As God scrutinizes every act by his all-seeing eye, he

discovers no impure motive, as vain-glory or lifting up of self; for all

is in godly sincerity.



The grace of godliness in the Christian character is capable of

cultivation and increase. There is a law in both the material and

spiritual that exercise is conducive to growth. The Spirit-filled apostle

said, "Exercise thyself unto godliness." In the Emphatic this reads,

"Train thyself for piety." Here is something for every soul that has any

aspiration to be more godly in life. Train yourself for piety. To become

of deeper piety and more godly is the joy of the Christian heart. By

training we become more pious. The lawn-tender forms an espalier by

intertwining the branches of the vine. He keeps intertwining them as they

grow, and by such training forms a latticework made of shrubbery. The soul

intertwined with the meek and lowly life of Jesus will form a character of

deep piety and sincere godliness. The daily life should be intertwined

with the life of Jesus. Let there be no reaching out for anything outside

of him. For a proper development of the Christian graces there must be a

constant training or intertwining of the soul with God. This linking more

tightly is the result of growth, and growth is produced by exercise, and

exercise consists in reading the Scriptures, in prayer, and in deep

thought or heart-communion with God. The athlete takes such exercises and

eats such foods as will most properly develop and strengthen his muscles.

The soul that has any longings for more of God must exercise to have its

yearnings gratified. To be conscious of a growing up into Christ, to feel

the soul intertwining more and more with the life of God, is fulness of

joy and perfect happiness. Christian reader, is there an ardent flame of

pure love in your heart? Do you walk with Jesus in a devout, trustful,

reverential spirit? Do you oftentimes find your mind contemplating the

wonders of creation and the glories of salvation? Is your soul habituated

to breathe in the atmosphere of heaven deeply? Is that holy awe filling

you? Is that tender sensibility of spiritual things filling your heart? Is

that fine, keen edge upon your soul that gives such avidity for holy

things? Is to become more godly a sincere desire of your heart? Then

diligently perform all the duties that belong to a godly life. Some give

great diligence for a time and make spiritual gain and then lose it all in

a day of slackness. But do not slack, be constant, be persevering, be

encouraged, reach forth, press forward,--and the prize of meekness, peace,

and godliness will crown your life.





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